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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 16, 2010

Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS

Photographing Wild Birds
A variety of birds have shown up in large amounts along the North Tongass Narrows due to the herring spawning along the shorelines.There have also been whale and sea-lion activity in the area. FRIDAY NIGHT INSIGHTS: Photographing Wild Birds. Jim Lewis has been photographing wild birds for 5 years, and his work was recently highlighted on the front page of the Ketchikan Daily News and frequently featured on SitNews. Jim will discuss the methods he uses to feed his obsession for capturing digital images of rainforest dwelling wild birds. This Insight will be on Friday, April 16, 7:00 pm at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Friday Night Insights programs are free programs.
Front Page Photo by JIM LEWIS


Southeast Alaska: Tribal groups respond to recent deaths in Southeast - Representatives from local, statewide and national tribal groups and other officials held an emergency meeting on Friday, April 2, to discuss the recent deaths of at least six tribal citizens in Southeast Alaska who died due to suspected alcohol or drug use.

The group met in Juneau at Sealaska Corporation to discuss the recent deaths, their possible causes and the epidemic rates of alcohol- and drug-related deaths among tribal members.

"We must acknowledge to our people that we are concerned," Clarence Jackson, a member of the Sealaska Heritage Institue's Board of Trustees, said in opening comments. "We must gather around our family. Anybody we lose is a tragedy."

The meeting was attended by representatives from tribal groups, including the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), Sealaska Corp., the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Tlingit and Haida Community Council, Tlingít and Haida Regional Housing Authority, Goldbelt Heritage Foundation and concerned community members. They were joined by Sen. Albert Kookesh, Rep. Beth Kerttula, Commissioner Bill Hogan from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and John Moller from the Office of the Governor. Also present were representatives of the University of Alaska, the University of Oxford (England), Juneau School District, Bartlett Regional Hospital and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

The groups agreed on the following:

1. To acknowledge and mourn the recent deaths within the tribal community related to alcohol and drugs;
2. To take ownership and responsibility of the drug and alcohol problems evident in the tribal communities and recognize that it is we, as Native people, who will solve the problems;
3. That the organizations present in the meeting will work together and support those organizations that have alcohol and drug programs and to integrate culturally-based solutions to the problem.

When Sealaska Heritage Institute integrated Native language and culture into its programs it found students did better academically, SHI President Rosita Worl said, addingthat the same principle could apply to alcohol and drug recovery programs. Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority reported that it will begin to monitor the alcohol and drug incidents within T&H Housing and will seek to partner with those organizations that have alcohol and drug programs. SEARHC outlined the alcohol and drug programs it has, but acknowledged that its programs often have waiting lists.

It is intrinsic upon tribal groups to get to the root of drug and alcohol abuse, Sen. Albert Kookesh said. - More...
Friday - April 16, 2010

Alaska Science: Birds blazing an electronic trail north during spring migration By NED ROZELL - About 150 years ago, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward was taking some heat for his significant role in the purchase of Alaska. On the day the Russians received the $7.2 million check, a group of white travelers were at Nulato, getting ready for an upriver trip to Fort Yukon to explore this strange land.

Gary Chayalkun, a student from Chevak, releases a Tundra Swan that is probably on its way back to Alaska now.
Photo courtesy Craig Ely

Among them was Frederick Whymper, an adventurous English artist who had signed on to help document a telegraph project across North America. In his book "Travel and Adventure in the Territory of Alaska," he left behind some insights into what America was getting itself into.

In his 20s, Whymper left what must have been a comfortable life in London to travel to British Columbia, where he gained the position of artist on the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition. That experience may have whetted his appetite for wild and uncomfortable, because he soon became the artist for the Russian-American Telegraph Project. His job was to document an attempt to string a wire from San Francisco to Moscow.

Though the successful laying of a sea-floor cable between Ireland and Newfoundland killed the telegraph project while Whymper was in Alaska, he and the others had a fine tour up and down the Yukon, and his are among the most detailed descriptions of the time when Alaska became part of America.

The Natives of both Alaska's coast and Interior fascinated Whymper as he wrote of the isolated "perfection" of the aboriginal people here. Here, he describes Interior Natives catching salmon on the middle Yukon River:

"We saw the very pretty sight of a whole fleet of birch bark (canoes), proceeding together as regularly as a company of soldiers. At a given signal the owners of each dipped his round hand-net into the water, and if, on raising it, a big salmon came up struggling to get away, there was a general shout," he wrote. "I saw so much harmless fun and amusement among these Indians, and they evidently find so much enjoyment in hunting and fishing, that I could only wish they might never see much of the white man, and never learn the baneful habit and custom he is sure to introduce." - More...
Friday - April 16, 2010


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letter City Council Should Reject KPU Telecom Sale By Mike Harpold - The Daily News correctly notes that the 13 vote margin in the recent special election asking to sell KPU Telecom, an election that turned out only 13 percent of the voters, was not a mandate. Never the less, a decision was made, and the issue passes to the city council which now must act in the interests of all the people on our island. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterEnsuring Accurate "TRIBAL" Counts By Marilyn Blair-Catron - I think it funny how they are telling us to put in either KIC or OVS in place of the names of our "Tribes." One being, Ketchikan Indian Community and the other being the Organized Village of Saxman. Do you see anything in those words helping to "Ensure Accurate Tribal Counts?" I sure don't. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterMarried Man's Trail By Susan Coady - I have lived in Ketchikan for 25 years. I spend my days with children. As the weather has improved, I have been spending the days with the children doing as many outdoor activities as we can. I have two very serious issues that need to be looked at for the safety of our children. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterSealaska Land Bill By Chasina Worman - As an Alaskan resident and commercial fisherman, I am writing to voice my opposition to the Sealaska Bill (S.881) . This legislation will be detrimental to Southeast Alaska. Sealaska has selected prime parcels, that are currently public lands, that they would like. Some names around Ketchikan that my family and I frequent and enjoy are: Dog bay, Naha, Clover Creek, Shrimp Bay, Burns Narrow, Bostwick, Gravel Point (Duke Isand), Chasina Pt., just to name a few. Plus an additional 46 acres in Misty Fjords. This land will become private and will be owned by a native corporation. This legislation gives land that the public uses and enjoys to a timber centric corporation. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letter An Open Letter to SEACC Concerning HR2099 & SB881 By Roger DiPaolo - Dear SEACC Directors, I know that my fellow residents of Edna Bay with whom I have spoken all feel exactly the same as I am expressing in this letter to you. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterSealaska's Land Bill: Mediation to Nowhere By Alan Stein - On April 19th at Douglas Library across from Juneau, a mediation will most likely occur between Sealaska Corporation on one side and three green groups on the other. Mediating will be Bruce Bothello, mayor of Juneau. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterTHE AMERICAN PUBLIC DESERVES ANSWERS ON S.881/HR.2099 By Myla Poelstra - During recent discussions and debate across Southeast Alaska over the merits of Sealaska's Land Bills, many issues and concerns have come to light. While efforts have been made by Senator Murkowski's staff to address region wide opposition, cited by testimony given at Town Hall meetings of over 75%, many problems remain and more questions are being asked about a proposal to take highly valued public lands out of forest service management domain and place them into the hands of a private corporation known for it's egregious logging practices. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterReduce Oil Consumption To Counter Russian Resurgence By Donald A. Moskowitz - During the past few years Russian oil revenues have generated a surplus of $500 billion, and Russia is using this money to rebuild and expand its military after many years of neglect. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterRE: Thanks for the Memories, Inga / Francine By Signe Markuson - Not all the fisherman living in the houses at Bar Harbor were POOR. My father Harold Markuson grew up in one of those homes with neighbor and his best buddy Larry Erickson.  - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010

letterRe: The Real Issue By Marilyn Catron - I personally read Mr. Hanger's original opinion regarding KPU's customer service. - More...
Wednesday - April 14, 2010


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letterBoard of Fish Deceit and the Company Line. By Lloyd Gossman - The Board of Fish recently opened a commercial summer Dungeness crab fishery that had been closed for nearly 25 years because of the waste. They did this under the guise of needing to gather new data. The fishery is going into its second season and no attempt has been made to gather data. That is the deceit. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterKetchikan's "Special" Election? By Robert D. Warner - Will the Ketchikan City Council have the courage to recognize that last Tuesday's special election was not a clear mandate from city voters to sell KPU Telecommunications? Major questions about this issue remain. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterMr. McPherson to the AK High School Hall of Fame By Greg Buxton Jr. - How awesome to find out about Mr. McPherson getting the nod to the Alaska High School Hall of Fame! I was fortunate enough to be taught by him for the first time back in 1980. I was just learning to play the "drums" and had attended the Summer Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, AK. I was truly a novice then, and Mr. McPherson was extremely patient with me. He'd challenged us all to put in the time to improve no matter what abilities we had then. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterIs this fair? By Rob Holston - When Walmart showed interest in "invading" Ketchikan there was much concern and discussion. As in most small towns, the fear came mostly from small business owners who had invested their lives and quite possibly their homes and 80 hour work weeks into making their businesses successful. The fear of unfair competition was at the crux of the controversy. Walmart paid a fair market value for the property, pays property tax & charges sales tax. Walmart invested THEIR money. However, OceansAlaska uses tax payer's money, public funding, to invest in their mega-tourist-atraction. The government "gives" OceansAlaska 28 prime acres for the government subsidized cost of $1 (ONE) US dollar! - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letter S 881/ HR 2099, Response to Steve Lewis By Carol Cairnes - Steve Lewis's solution is to pass the problem on to other folks and keep this treacherous legislation alive. Value is not what is due Sealaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, land is. The value rests in what Sealaska makes of it. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterComing to you soon in a favorite waterway and anchorage near you! By Betsey Burdett - Did you know that there is a company that is applying with the State of Alaska to run an oyster farm and hardening beaches in and on the Tatoosh Islands? They are called Tatoosh Oysters, LLC and intend to put in floating docks, a floating caretaker cabin, and utilize beaches as a hardening area. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010

letterTea Party Protest? By A.M.Johnson - As April 15th draws near, I ask if the local Tea Party group will have a "Tea Party" protest at the usual haunt of Jefferson and Tongass? I read of many such events being planned and publicized across America now to encourage interested citizens to participate. As frustrated as I am towards the direction our Country is taking under this administration, I would welcome a local opportunity to share with like thinking Americans. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterThe Sealaska Lands Bill, S.881: A Problem with a Solution By Steve Lewis - Senator Murkowski's Sealaska Lands Bill, S.881, presents a problem to residents of SE Alaska. Few would suggest that Sealaska should not receive the lands due it under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), but there are many who feel that the current bill will cause serious damage to karstlands and the underlying caves, create permanent rifts among Southeast Alaskans, and provide Sealaska with more than it was due under ANCSA. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterSealaska Landless By Vernon Grant - As a Sealaska landless shareholder, this is my perspective on this landless issue. First of all if we let the government slide on the promise to fulfill the ANCSA that they have signed and left unresolved to be out voted by communities that have not been awaiting the passed 40 years for this land issue to be finalized, this will be a blow too our own state and give way to a mind set that they can get away with not upholding any and all promises made too any sect or bill. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterIce Skating Rink and Dog Park By Tony Gwynn - I'm pretty sure that most people in Ketchikan would love to have an indoor ice rink and an indoor/outdoor dog park. Myself included. So I say this next part with all due respect. If you are passionate about an indoor ice rink or dog park then take the necessary steps to create those two very worthwhile dreams!!! But please don't steal the hard work and vision of the proposed Ward Cove indoor recreation facility. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterRoy McPherson By Jason Alderson - Way to go Roy!! Some of my favorite memories are going into McPherson Music as a teenager and looking at the drums! Even though I had long hair, jeans with holes in them and a leather jacket (it was the 80's!!) Roy and Tina always treated me with respect and worked with me so that I could purchase the drums I wanted. - More...
Wednesday - April 07, 2010

letterKPU TELEPHONE SALE: VOTE NO By Pete Ellis - So it is sort of like voting to sell your birthright and the right to choose services to be offered and their cost. A contrary vote is for the unknown. A yes vote results in an inability to provide further input as to any sales analysis, other than the limited opportunity to appear before the Council and urge their rejection or further negotiation of a sale proposal. Voting NO guarantees continued control and input. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterVote "YES" to look for a buyer By Patti Fay Hickox - Voting yes [on Tuesday, April 6th] only means the city can look for a buyer for telecommunications. Ketchikan KPU cannot complete against GCI, AT&T etc. in the telecommunications business. We would need to buy massive equipment to keep up. This would suck out all the money and some day we will have to sell because GCI etc. has a lot more money to build these connections. We cannot keep up with these big outfits. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letter Monty Hall and City Hall By Michael McNally - Sitnews readers of a certain age will remember a once popular game show, called Let's Make a Deal. The classic gimmick of the show was that contestants, having obtained a prize of moderate value, would be offered a chance to trade their prize in, sight unseen, for what was behind door number three. The trick was, only the show s host, Monty Hall, knew what was behind door number three and while it could be a valuable prize the contestants also ran the risk of losing what they had. It was an excellent gimmick for a game show, but it is a poor way to conduct public policy. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterNew terminals in Metlakatla, Part 2 By Steven G. Booth - I would hope that the M/V Lituya would be home ported in Ketchikan unless and until appropriate security infrastructure is available in Annette Bay with the scenario of dismantling the Chester Bay Terminal. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterSealaska Bill, S.881 By Bob Claus - I thank Arne Fuglvog of Senator Murkowski's office for traveling to Edna Bay and meeting with the residents there. I was glad to have been able to attend as well, and was impressed by the measured tone and thoughtful responses opposing the Sealaska land selections on Kosciusko Island from everyone who spoke. 100% of the community attended the meeting and opposed S.881. I also heard a great amount of hope and optimism for the future of Edna Bay and our other small communities surrounded by the Tongass National Forest so long as they continue to have community input through the forest planning processes. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letter S.881 is not the solution for Southeast Alaska By Sandy Powers - Community hearings on Senate Bill 881/HR 2099 held in Edna Bay and Point Baker/Port Protection last week reconfirmed that a majority of Southeast Alaskans are opposed to this bill that would give 80,000-some acres of public-owned, roaded National Forest land to Sealaska Corporation. There was unanimous opposition from these three communities, with residents from age 13 to 82 speaking passionately of how their lives and futures would be forever adversely changed by this legislation. Hearings in other communities throughout Southeast were held earlier in the month. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterTaxpayers asked again to bail out a Corporation By Judy Magnuson - Why is the taxpayer again being asked to bail out a corporation? Why are small communities, the public, and businesses that depend upon public lands for their livelihood and recreation being asked to give it up for a private corporation? Sealaska's Vice President spoke in Ketchikan on March 31st , stating the Corporations need for S-881 to pass quickly, because they only have two years of timber harvest lands left. Whose fault is that? - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterRoy McPherson By Doug Edwards - Thank you for the excellent article about Roy's induction into the Alaska School Activities Association Hall of Fame. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterFawn Mountain Track and Field By Miguel Torres - I remember arriving in Ketchikan during the summer 0f '06 and looking forward to the upcoming Kayhi football season. Having lived in Texas for many years and enjoying quite a few Friday night football games, I inquired into the Ketchikan football tradition. I was referred to Blaine Ashcraft, high school football and commissioner to the Ketchikan football youth league.  - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterPerformance Scholarships Will Help to Improve our Schools By Larry LeDoux - The Governor's Performance Scholarship proposal would award substantial postsecondary scholarships to Alaska students who take a challenging curriculum in high school and meet thresholds for performance on grades and tests. The scholarships would be used at Alaska institutions, both technical and academic. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterHoly Name By Brandon Fast - I think more people should go to Holy Name Catholic School. At Holy Name we have a bully free environment and small class sizes. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterHealth Reform By Jim Kempsell - Lamentably, Socratic form of debate (actually listening to an opponent, recognizing they may have some valid points) is virtually non-existent in this age of sound bites and "gotcha". - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

letterCommunity By Joey Tillson - The other day I had lunch with an out of town friend. Her and I had gone to school together in Juneau for many years and for 29 years of my life, I lived in Juneau but was born in Ketchikan. It was wonderful to catch up with her and discuss how our lives had changed and progressed. - More...
Monday - April 05, 2010

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